***Better Know Your Hammer – the book is now available as a paperback or ebook! It includes info about all these hammers plus a glossary, hammer resources, and info on why hammers work the way they do and tips on using and buying one. (updated 7/2011)***
Unfortunately, this is the last installment in this series. I have run out of hammers to talk about. I will accept hammer donations though if anyone wants to give me some awesome new hammers for my collection!
Today we will discuss the forging hammer. It looks a lot like a raising hammer, and infact it can do raising, but in a heavy duty kind of way. Larger forging hammers are just sledge hammers with a cross pein, but I use a much smaller version due to my only partially Popeye-like forearms. (also, I do cold forging of nonferrous metals primarily) One side of my hammer is a flat pein and the other is a horizontal cross pein. The flat side can of course be used to flatten metal if you want it to spread in both directions. You can also use it with the metal held against the edge of an anvil and use the anvil like the cross pein to lengthen the rod. If you want to do this especially fast, you use the cross pein and the side of the anvil, working both sides at once. Then use the flat side to somewhat planish out the dings and straighten the piece of metal.
Forging is best known to be used by blacksmiths working steel and iron, but it is also used on nonferrous metal for the same reasons, just usually as cold
forging with annealing and pickeling in between courses. You can taper rod and wire this way, flatten rod and wire, or make a variety of swirls and other forms using the techniques and tools blacksmiths use. You can also use your raising and planishing hammers for this, but depending on the end look you want and how heavy gauge the wire is to begin with, you sometimes need a heavier hammer to get the desired effect. I use my smaller forging hammer when fold forming to flatten the seams and then mark them with the cross pein.
So now that I have finished enriching your hammer filled lives why don’t I pass the torch. Leave a comment about your favorite hammer and what you use it for and link to any photos explaining your process.